Events and Festivals
The Pugnaloni of Acquapendente:
These wonderful mosaics, made up solely of flower petals and leaves, represent the most peculiar folkloristic event of “the Madonna del Fiore” celebration, which takes place every year in Acquapendente on the third Sunday of May. To find the root of this tradition one must look centuries to the 1066, when our village was set free from the tyrannical governor of Federico Ist Barbarossa.
According to legend, the revolt was due to an extraordinary event: two peasants who where working in their field, suddenly saw withered cherry tree miraculously blooming. This was taken as a divine signal: the Madonna would protect them, and thus the population could rise against the tyrant, driving him away and destroying his castle. In order to remember the liberation that was longed-for, the community decided to celebrate this every year towards the middle of May. Nowadays, more than eight centuries later, the tradition is still carried on in honour of the Madonna del Fiore and the old theme of freedom is portrayed in different ways on the Pugnaloni.
The Pugnaloni evolved over centuries from the initial “pungoli”, which were ancient farm tools that peasants used to adorn with flowers and carry in procession, following the statue of the Madonna del Fiore. Nowadays they are large boards, which are first drawn and then covered with flower petals, leaves(oak, bay, magnolia, cane, elm…) and other vegetable extracts, all of them skilfully stuck in order to reproduce every single shading of the drawing. As regards fresh materials, those that through experience proved to be longer-lasting are mainly chosen, and light glues are used. As a result, amazing effects are reached through only using colours that nature supplies.
Each Pugnalone, followed by the group of people who worked on it, is then taken to the main square, where a vibrant crowd awaits the final response, waving with coloured flags: who is the winner? All year round, the Pugnaloni are kept inside the S. Sepolcro’ s Basilica.